BRISTOL, Tenn. – Coming in as the second seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, the King University women's basketball team knew they would be in for a battle with seventh seeded University of Mount Olive. The Tornado had a lead of 12 points in the first half, and 11 in the second half, but couldn't put the Trojans away. Mount Olive gained their first lead of the day with nine minutes left, and held off a late King flurry to take the upset win 72-69.
The Tornado seniors started the day off on the right foot, hitting three straight three-point baskets. Bonnie Durrett started the scoring before Chelsea Bowling and Tia Keitt followed to give the Tornado a 9-2 lead two minutes in. Whitney Mitchell made it 4-for-4 from long range with another triple, stretching the King (20-9) lead to 14-6 with 17 minutes remaining in the half.
Mitchell and Keitt then made back-to-back bucket to give King an 18-8 lead. Following a Trojan triple, Bowling hit a jumper and Jalan Harper connected from long range to give King their largest lead of the game, 23-11 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Mount Olive (13-16) cut their deficit to five, but King answered by scoring six of the next seven points, capped by another Harper triple, extending the Tornado lead back to 33-23 with three minutes left in the frame. Nevertheless, the Trojans scored the final six points of the frame to make the halftime score 33-29 at halftime.
The Tornado didn't waste any time extending their lead in the second half as Bowling started the frame with a three-point basket 25 seconds in, and Durrett followed with another, stretching the King lead back to double digits. King the held an 11 point three times over the first six minutes of the second half. The final time came after a Durrett triple with 14:40 remaining in the game.
However, Mount Olive scored 10 of the next 11 points, cutting their deficit to 48-47 before Bowling hit a pair of free throws for King. The Trojans then tied the contest at 50 with a three-point basket with 11 minutes remaining. The score was the tied at 52 with nine minutes remaining when the Trojans hit a free throw to take their first lead of the game. The free throw sparked a 5-0 run that gave Mount Olive a 59-54 lead with eight minutes remaining.
The Trojans stretched their lead to seven points twice, the second time coming with 2:30 remaining before Harper got King back on the board. Amy Van Deventer then converted a three-point play to cut the King deficit to 69-66 with 24 seconds remaining. After a pair of Mount Olive free throws, Harper hit a three-point basket to pull King within 71-69 with 12 seconds left. The Tornado then got a steal, but turned the ball over and fouled with 0.7 seconds remaining. Mount Olive made one free throw, and King couldn't get off a shot as time expired to give Mount Olive the 72-69 win.
King shot 40.4 percent from the floor and 44.0 percent from three-point range while Mount Olive shots 47.9 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from long range. The Trojans were also 21-for-26 from the free throw line for an 80.8 percentage while King shot 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the free throw line.
This marked the last game of in a King uniform for seniors Bowling, Keitt, Durrett and Alley Sprouse. Bowling scored a team-high 15 points. Durrett added 11 points while Keitt scored 11 points. Sprouse accounted for two blocks and two rebounds. Harper scored 13 points to go along with seven rebounds and Van Deventer chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds.